US boy ‘locked in wardrobe for years’

A security guard at a National Guard building in Oklahoma City called police
on Friday after the teenager turned up malnourished and with scars and other
signs of abuse, police spokesman Gary Knight said.

“He was hungry. He was dirty. He had numerous scars on his body,” Mr Knight
said. “It was very sad.”

The boy was taken to a hospital to be examined and then turned over to the
custody of the Department of Human Services.

After police interviews, officers arrested the boy’s mother, 37-year-old
LaRhonda McCall, and a friend, 38-year-old Steve Hamilton, on 20 complaints
each of child abuse and child neglect. Formal charges have not been filed.

The teenager, wearing only a pair of oversized shorts held up by a belt,
walked up to a security guard at the Guard facility on Friday afternoon and
asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused,
according to a police report.

He told police that scars on his stomach and torso were from where alcohol had
been poured on him and set on fire. Other scars were from being tied up, hit
with an extension cord and choked, the boy told police.

“He had scars covering most of his body,” Mr Knight said. “They were basically
from head to foot.”

The teenager told police he moved to the Oklahoma City area from New Jersey
about four-and-a-half years ago after his mother was released from jail.
Since arriving in Oklahoma, he said, he had never been to school and spent
most of his time locked in a bedroom wardrobe.

He told police the wardrobe door was mostly blocked with a stepladder or a bed
and that he managed to push the door open enough to escape and leave the
house.

Mr Knight said six other children living at the home were taken into DHS
custody, but none showed signs of abuse.

A DHS spokeswoman said she could not discuss specific cases but generally an
investigation would be conducted before any of the children are returned to
the home or placed with other family members.

“There may be family members, but we do a diligent search, and we’re very
careful about placing kids in a safe environment,” DHS spokeswoman Beth
Scott said.

Source: The Belfast Telegraph

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